“Patience, Hummingbird”

Authors of this and other platforms are still writing of the Chinese Virus and its effects now and long term. Stretching finances so hard you’re scared how bad the recoil will sting if you dare let go. How do first-time homeschoolers keep from going bats. An uptick in board game sales (I’d give almost anything to be that monarch butterfly on an overhead wall of the group playing Monopoly, The Cheaters Edition!). A new spin on old leftovers. Staying connected and sane despite isolation–is this really an introvert’s paradise? New hobbies found after streaming service binges become one day of the week into the next. The dozens of notables who’ve passed during this rotten transition into a new normal. Despite their death and we’re all sick of all things COVID to the back teeth, life goes on. But the deaths seem to punch a bigger, nastier, hurting hole into this reality more than any of us are ready for.

So I’m doing a first, hours before this post is due for my 2nd Saturday monthly jam: the patience I need is–
–Woth myself
–With other authors
–With God
–With other mere mortals.
I’m burned out from Monopoly, Uno, Duraq, and Jenga, yet my mind’s too wired to read. My phone’s storage is near tapped in Ooooh-look!-Shiny app downloads, but I’m grouchier with myself, God, my loved ones, my characters. My writing life, upheaval aside and not for lack of trying, is at a standstill. Family members have COVID updated or took their leave of this dimension, I’m now neck-deep in toiletries to open a small supply depot over. And tthe next salon/spa/massage visit feels like it’s twelve light years out waiting for my turn to feel normal again.

A study in my phone’s Bible app talking about this Jumanji event had a line that jumped out at me this past June–

“Don’t expect people to live up to my standards, since I don’t have any clue what those are in these times. This IS a new normal, like it or not. Nobody has a playbook to be guided by, not even you. Be especially patient with others, with God, with the circumstance, and most impotanrly, with myself. Whatever or whomever is perplexing you, just let it go, let it ride, or let it be.”

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Well, that wrecking ball of straightshootin’ common sense snacked me upside my stubborn head. Aren’t we patient with ourslves in learning a new skill, working with a new hire, or wrestling with a storyline, for whichever unexplicable reason, isn’t coming together as it should?

You sure are. I sure am.

So why contradict this?

While following a streaming yoga workout this week past, during it, the camera guy caught a gorgeous hummingbird outside the instructor’s patio window. I’m a sucker for anything flying on its own power, so my ADHD mind went nuts over this. But his soothing voice and telling the followers to not move a muscle, lest he startle the bird away, was that stroking-a-ferret-to-sleep to my ADHD thoughts, and they soon Zen’ed out. In a balmier frame of mind, the paradox of the hummingbird surfaced. The wings beat blurringly fast, but even this creature knows when to slow or when to move on when it’s time. Fast as it moves, it has to be patient with itself, or die burning itaelf out before its work is finished.

As I work this, Sweet Reader, you may enjoy and be entertained and informed by my nimble fingers feverishly keeping pace with my Road-Runner-on-‘roids thoughts, two scenes are marinating for my projects I’m thisclose to getting down. I’m a monthly subscriber to a writing box company to spur creativity again (and of course, LoM gets first review dibs when I’ve played with the goodies for a stretch). I’m planning a near-year end trip with my husband to New York’s Howe Caverns and the Corning Glass Museum, and to visit a friend whose husband died this past spring in a freak work accident. Trips like these do FAR more for my writing mojo than the traditional and indie industry gatherings do. And I’ll call a spade a spade–who needs a weekend-long pissing contest in the guise of friendly camaraderie with fellow authors over strategies we’ve heard inside out? I don’t.

I sip Harney & Sons Earl Grey as Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome” on my TV music channel beckons I harmonize with it as I type. Even with this COVID clusterfuck we’re still untangling from, I’m in a good and bad place with writing. This, too, can use a needed reboot, or that I’m crying for change to supplement this part of the creative craft with something else communally. Whereever I land, what some of you call in a good place after sorting, dusting off, spring-cleaning and the like, untreated ADHDs like me always find a good and not-so-cool place to be in simultaneously. How can we live like this, you’re wondering? ‘Taint easy. But maybe the magic of the hovering hummingbird is a lovely reminder to be patient while moving quickly, but to know when to stay patient as I’m moving, be it slow or fast, or I die before it’s time. And to extend this same allowance to humanity, regardless who they are or if they’re clueless in which next to go as I am, is the “wisdom” in the hummingbird’s work.

English Language Be Gettin’ a Bad Rap Like a Overrated Airport Sammich!

That got your attention, you sticklers for grammar and its rules. For those who’re fast and loose with this part of the writing universe, you’re (maybe) applauding me I’m with you.

Before we get into the breakdown of the English language and what it isn’t and is, let’s explore some history.

From what I’ve remembered in my Greek & Latin Roots of English more than two decades (twenty years or a “score”) in completing my B.A. for journalism, our language has evolved through the Germanic and Hellenesic Wars. It also took on much change during the Battle of Hastnigs in 1066. An all day bloody battle, taking out King Harold allegedly with an arrow through his eye, ended his reign and destoryed his forces. Harold had been the final Anglo-Saxon King of England.

More of what History.com says about this war: “After his victory at the Battle of Hastings, William marched on London and received the city’s submission. On Christmas Day of 1066, he was crowned the first Norman king of England in Westminster Abbey, and the Anglo-Saxon phase of English history came to an end. French became the language of the king’s court and gradually blended with the Anglo-Saxon tongue to give birth to modern English. (Illiterate like most nobles of his time, William spoke no English when he ascended the throne and failed to master it despite his efforts. Thanks to the Norman invasion, French was spoken in England’s courts for centuries and completely transformed the English language, infusing it with new words.) William I proved an effective king of England, and the “Domesday Book,” a great census of the lands and people of England, was among his notable achievements.”

This book of my former professor’s, now in its sixth edition, says, “More than 60 percent of all English words have Greek or Latin roots; in the vocabulary of the sciences and technology, the figure rises to more than 90 percent. Through the study of the Greek and Latin roots of English, students can expand their knowledge of English vocabulary and also come to understand the ways in which the complex history of the English language has shaped our perceptions of the world around us.

“The Greek and Latin Roots of English maintains the book’s much-praised thematic approach. After an essential overview of world languages, and the linguistic histories of Greek, Latin, and English, the text organizes vocabulary into various topics, including politics and government, psychology, medicine and the biological science, as well as ancient culture, religion, and philosophy. The sixth edition features revised cumulative exercises in each chapter that reinforce both vocabulary and analytical skills learned from pervious chapter. The [sixth edition] also features alphabetized vocabulary lists, new photos and cartoons, and other reader-friendly updates.”
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I (naturally!) aced this class. I’ve always loved words, how they were used, what their breakdowns were, why some words stuck and others didn’t, etc. To expound on my recent post mentioning Schoolhouse Rock and how well I did with English because of those cartoon segments, that’s how certain parts of speech made more sense and opened horizons and doors for me. Until diagramming sentences came into my world in high school, that is. I didn’t bomb those; I got cratered. But I made up for it in doing well in other parts of speech, vocabulary, subtect, contextual meanings the author was exploring, and spelling. My favorites to this day: adverbs, prepositions, conjections, interjections, punctuation marks, similies, May-the-Fours (that’s metaphors to you in Rio Linda, haha!), and plays-on-words, or more commonely know as puns.

This post was inspired by a Little House episode (“School Mom”) where Caroline Ingalls pinched hit as a substitute while Walnut Grove’s regular teacher recovered from an injury. Among her charges was a near adult-aged boy near illiterate, a “Hold my beer!” moment for Caroline when her girls called the boy “Dumb Abel.” But it was a segment of this episode that always makes me misty-eyed: Each child holds a printed letter in front of him, and they takes turns representing their letter to eventually form a word. This, over time, helps the boy become literate (and sealing Landon’s often Disney-ending writing for this show–which is why I find the writing of The Waltons much stronger.). The teamwork behind this colossal effort, the simplicity in which words are just letters strung together in a certain order, and the light in his eyes how everything made sense broken down in simpler elements, was moving. That, and more importantly–somebody cared enough to care. And you’re never too old to learn, as evidenced in the fantastic book Life is So Good. So why should the adverbe, or any parts of speech for that matter, be shorted on one’s say so?

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After the show, I wondered about how anybody–writers, authors, cumudgeounly Enlgish teachers and grammaticitians, real, imagined, or self-appointed–ALWAYS have something nasty to say about somebody else’s use of the language. Foreigners are laughed at, made fun or, or corrected to their face about its use when it’s not their first line of communication. Deaf or hard-of-hearing had to evolve sign language to its bare bones; I know a little ASL to converse in it slowly. For pregnant, they place their hands so their fingers are a third on top of one another, palms down, and arc them from their bodies to touch the bottome of their bellies. Together means hooked index fingers to “link” them. Asking the time means pointing at your wrist and holding up your fingers to represent the number; thank you mean to blow a kiss; yes means to nod your head or your fist; no means to shake your head or that fist side to side; hot means to fan yourself; cold means you hug yourself is if you’re freezing; and walking means moving your index and middle fingers in a method in how legs would walk. See where this is going? So since when did those who speak English get to be the arbitors of what’s right to say and not to?

So if a grammaticitian comes into your world, dead-set on your speaking properly in your writing as strict as the grammar rules are, your end results may come across stuffy at best, or reading like the worst pain in the ass Grammar Police Patrol you’ll ever know handcuffed you and your creativity. Nobody needs this–not you, not me, and certaintly not readers. So it shouldn’t be any surprise to you, Dear Reader, when I came axross the trend of–

DON’T USE ADVERBS IN YOUR WRITING!!!!!

all the F over social media. Done by a genre-creating author, yet, with the bestest-selling book on the craft of writing in publishing history, save for The Elements of Style.

While everyone might’ve taken this author’s word as gospel, I had to contest the premise–little ol’ David me daring to cross swords with the Goliath, multi-award-winning bestseller. Not so much I come by dissension naturally–if some of you saw my recent unapologetic and unrepentant stirrings and stances in a writing group, you’ll know what I’m saying. But adverbs are one of the pillars of parts of speech; that’s like saying you’re overusing nouns, or you’re breathing too much. Instead, this author should’ve declared JUST as boldly–

USE ADVERBS LIKE YOU SHOULD DRINK–RESPONSIBLY!

Didn’t happen. So I did it.

Oopsie.

I was applauded in some cases–“Thank you, Scribe, for sticking up for us foreigners newly learning English.”–but for the most part, people attacked me in perception I attacked him! Was I a bestseller (No.)? Was I jealous (**laughing** Hardly.)? Oh, yeah? Where’s your book (In my computer, thank you for asking. Next!)? Gonna self-publish because traditional houses think you suck, huh (Um . . . some who’re traditionally published with contracts as thick as my femur is long are more interested in checking a PC box than honing decent writing for repeat business, and that ain’t me, so . . . NEXT!)? And so the storm raged. But I held my ground for the lowly, ain’t-good-for-nothin’ adverb. Inevitably, the next part of speech to be attacked, which I meant satirically, was the semi-colon. I called it–but I was only kidding! The bullies weren’t. And still ain’t–they’re attacking free speech altogether, never mind parts of it, but that’s another topic for another post.

Here’s the thing: all parts of speech, punctuation, consonants, vowels, and its references, have a place, even the ugliest of words. They. ALL. Have. A. Place. Yes, there is such thing as too much telling. There is also such thing as too much showing. And too much setting. Too much descriptions. Too much backstory. Too much info-dumping. Too much . . . too much . . . too much . . .! So it’s the adverb’s time to be bullied. In an era of can’t we all just get along, there sure is a lot of bullying going on we’re told to not do otherwise. And taking adverbs out of sentences for the sake of, guess what happens to and with that sentence? Its subtext and context are changed subtly and obviously so the paragraph around that one sentence with the shameful adverb being cross-examined is also changed. Leave the adverb alone. It’s has a place–so let it do the job it’s supposed to do.

And there is such a thing as too much use in strong verbs, too; once everyone’s doing it, and is doing it, what makes it special in that piece of writing anymore? To steal a phrase from one of my many favorite PIXAR movies, The Incredibles, where Syndrome says, “Once everyone are Supers . . . no one will be,” is just as fittin’ here as it is anywheres else.

Not bad advice from a villain, despite discovering too late his cape was a bad idea. So you too, Dear Author for your even Dearer Readers, don’t let YOUR writing cape do you in on the adverb, either. ‘Sides, if Superman and Batman and Robin handled theirs with finnesse and class, please make your use of grammar just as messy to match your imagination. Do so freely, wildly, often, richly, and boldly.

And, of course . . . do so indubitably.

God Winks: It’s The Little Things

Being a bombastic big mouth from old school NYC, it’s hard to get me to willingly shut up. When I do, you best believe it’s intentional, purposeful, and to hold my attention. 9/11. A sun dog. A newborn with her fantastic Heaven-scent aroma on her onesie and in my nose. A great sleep.

And . . . God winks.

Although I’d drafted this on the 27th anniversary of turning 27–that’s called “Awesome 54some!” for those of you in #RioLinda **smirk/sarc**–it’s been dreadful to find fresh words for my Casebooks, my Threesome of Magic mysteries, even this platform. We were in the biggest game of cooties I’ve seen in life via COVID. A shutdown wrecking economic havoc. The pokiness of re-opening states so people can resume their lives–or move on in them to settle loved ones’ affairs. These stupid city burnings after an unfortunate series of events in Minnesota. And still having to wear a mask, it becoming a symbol of murdering logic, common sense, and reason in favor of groupthink, fear, and forced compliance.

But I digress.

I prayed, mainly because I couldn’t take the overwhelm anymore. It was the one thing I had some control over, some input for, some say in. When I wasn’t praying, I was sleeping. A lot. No, I’ve no plans to harm myself or others–don’t tempt me on the “others” part, please! :)–but I found it a solace He was listening.

That’s when the little reminders popped up like mushrooms do overnight. Specifics only I’d know. Hoo-boy, did I know them.

Ever heard of Squire Rushnell? Oh, yes you have. If you’re familiar with Schoolhouse Rock and other Saturday morning children’s programming on ABC back in the day, that’s the name behind this part of pop culture. He put that network on the map for inspiring 3 to 7 minute animated segments in history, science, math, government (“I’m Just a Bill”), and grammar in between cartoons, much like CBS did In The News with Christopher Glenn in between theirs (and I switched channels often to not miss either one!). Anyhoo . . . Rushnell kept adding up little coincidences in his life leading to the big ones like Schoolhouse, and how that lead him to be ABC’s Children’s Programming Prez. And hey–if he helped kids do better in school with these subjects of the songs and visuals they provided, #360Win.

Mushroom #1: My husband Pete picks up flowers in bright purple and vivid yellow. I gasped, cried, then asked if he remembered if I told him of my villain’s signature colors in my TOM mysteries. He said no–he just felt he had to get them when he saw them as a sweet birthday gesture.

Mushroom #2: Somebody shares a meme on social of an entryway from the movie adaptation of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Almost immediately, a scene drops in mind for my TOM mysteries I can plenty use to move the plot(s) forward. Yes . . . I gasped in sweet surprise again.

Mushroom #3: A Times fan since my mother, God rest her, gave me a back-to-school Snoopy watch for third grade when I was seven (I skipped second, being so bright), fostering my love for analog timepieces since. Along with the flowers, my husband gifts me a watch called Vincero (pronounced vinchairro), and the brand translates in English from Italian, “I will win.” Vincero’s pretty damn close to missing-his-ear van Gogh. Vincent Price. And my Casebooks Jay Vincent. Oh, sure–Casper’s and Logan’s names’d pop up plenty of times outside of their Casebook lives in my life, but Pedregon’s seldom did . . . before that watch company came in over my transom.

Mushroom #4: A numerology newsletter I’m subscribed to, the author suggested in part of her communique for this month that, for those who draw, to keep drawing. Those who create and craft, keep creating and crafting.

And for those who write?
You guessed it: keep writing.

Squire Rushnell created God Winks when he thought coincidence did a disservice to those unexplainable-timing-in-a-good-way little things that make you take notice. It’s not a religious aspect you must believe to see the treatise behind the belief, although Rushnell is a Christian. It’s more like Chicken Soup for the Soul’s cousin or bolder little sister. I haven’t read the book, but I plan to. It’s an occasional nod you’re headed in the right direction when you’re not sure you are, to keep staying on track–or need a boost when you don’t want to stay the course, as was my circumstance, but poignantly special after a monstrously trying week in a disgustingly taxing first half of 2020.

But in the middle of our national storm, another birthday’s come and gone. That, all things considered, is the best God wink there is.

Apologies for the heavy use of adverbs in this update. “Lolly’s Adverb Store” takes full blame for that!

Why A Writing Rebel is #SorryNotSorry

What do Elmore Leonard, Tim LeHaye; Rod Serling; Nat Hentoff; Mark Twain, Paula Danziger; Robert Cormier; Sidney Sheldon; Edgar Allen Poe; Jackie Collins; Mickey Spillane; Michael Crichton; Madelaine L’Engle; Maurice Sendak, and Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, have in common?

If you said they’re all dead, good for you. As of this post, they still very much are (and with this COVID headache still with us, they died of that, I drop sarcastically 😏). But if you also said they were writers who were in my reading and TV library as an impressionable, rebellious, and misunderstood girl-rascal, you know me well. Brace yourselves–doing so is precarious. **smirk**

Need another hint? I’ll give you a minute to find the clue in the above paragraph. **insert “Syncopated Clocks” theme here.**

Time’s up.

Before #sorrynotsorry was a thing, they wrote rebelliously. For their time(s), they crossed lines and pushed comfort zones tame by today’s scary-dark and nakedly demonic standards. The thought was to push philosophical, societal, and imaginative boundaries and platforms within reason, and not to go against physical nature or humanity. This I was okay with. In fact, it kicked me to be a better author without having to plumb the scarier, darker side of what imaginatively could be.

In a critique of my 2nd book’s opening chapter, the now-fired editor said she loved it . . . but, despite my saying I’m a woman writing from a guy’s POV, she constructively found the female descriptions objectifying (but missed my other bigoted names briefly mentioned. Huh. 🤔). In today’s times beyond the hypocritical #MeToo movement, Harvey Weinstein, and the persistent tug-of-war between the sexes, it’s a tightrope balance between staying true to my unbridled imagination or being mindful of those finding “broad,” “cutie,” “honey,” “sweetie-pie,” “tomato,” “dame,” or the “C” word objectionable. None of these bother me if ever said IRT (in real time for those of you in Rio Linda), save for the “C” one. To be fair, I’ve use that for women being jerks when “basic bitch,” “thot,” or “nasty-ass ho” isn’t strong enough to call her (thank you, urbandictionary.com!) 😄😏. Justified, of course. Or muttered under my breath when it wasn’t.

Writing on the edge should happen by default no matter the genre; language is as perilous and nasty as it is sweet, lovely, and gossamer. Twain used nigger several times in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Stevie Wonder’s speaking parts in the “Livin’ For The City” track on his Inner Visions album mention this, too. I don’t shy from the questionable, objectionable, or downright frightening. To face it head-on to fine tune a moral and ethical compass, and to know where to draw a line I won’t ever cross. Children’s author Maurice Sendak told Maury Safer in a 60 Minutes interview he wrote about the monsters in Where The Wild Things Are because “. . . .the nightmares kids have–and monsters in those nightmares–are as real as their mommies and daddies are.” To put them down tangibly, he figured, not only gave kids something credible to show kids a grown up thought as they did, but that if kids faced their fears, they weren’t too scary big to fight them back, the kids weren’t too young to fight them at all, and to win. In his In The Night Kitchen story was where a naked child was shown for the first time, reasoning during the Safer interview, Sendak said he showed a naked child in the illustrations because he didn’t think kids were worried about clothes in their nightmares. I don’t fully remember the story, but if memory serves, the boy, dreaming he was in a dough suit, obviously couldn’t be clothed under the pastry; how much sense would this make? Sendak’s Night Kitchen was boldly, #sorrynotsorry controversial as Marilyn Monroe’s 1951 naked appearance in the first issue of Playboy. 🤔😏

L’Engle’s Wrinkle In Time held a God-heavy theme in the Murray kids and friend Calvin saving Professor Murray from an evil force (and notwithstanding, a genius five-year-old unapologetically using a vast vocabulary in his character, but still manages to stay an adorable Charles Wallace. This sparked an argument how can five-year-olds talk on a near Einsteinian level? Um, some can. And some do.). Danziger’s The Cat Ate My Gymsuit today could be deemed as fat-shaming in Marcy’s character, her mother a pushover in the shadow of her husband’s and Marcy’s father’s blustering bullying. But the story showcases a young teacher’s outside-the-box instruction in a conservative community determined to see their kids taught English by the book of English–Dead Poet’s Society, anyone? This wasn’t far off the mark of Danziger herself, since she’d been a full time English teacher before her writing career took off. In this story, Marcy’s high school teacher impacted her past the classroom.

Be they gentle stories showing a shy little black cat’s courage, or a Catholic family’s sons adventures in 1898 Mormon Utah, to grittier reads bearing themes in the plots that challenged my opinions and forcing my stances a closer look, these authors didn’t shy from their stories. They all pushed me past the story in their word choices, in the norms at their time, and letting their imaginations weave tales maybe the harsher themes and beliefs were better swaddled in than given so starkly. Whichever came first, it doesn’t matter and didn’t matter. They left a patina on me in their unapologetic storytelling to this day has gotten under my own storytelling skin. They were #sorrynotsorry doing that to me, so I pay it forward to anyone reading me, also unapologetically Sorry/Not Sorry. As one Logan McGuinness of the Casebooks and Threesome of Magic Mysteries would tell me: be bold AF, Missye. He’s right. I can’t let the kid readers and kids at heart ones, down. Or him, either.

Speaking of Mr. McG, I’ve a scene in my 2nd TOMM mystery I’ve finally smoothed the wrinkles from. Best I get to it. And best too, you, Dear Reader, find books and stories that push you past your easy, your simple, your familiar, your typical. For you Dear Authors reading this, your homework is to keep your imaginations deadly, unsettled, and untamed in good ways. That’s where the fun lies. In this wild ride we’re all on dealing with COVID, no one’s gonna much worry about writing dangerously anymore. We lived it.

And guess what? Even my lyrical writing, which was what the now-fired editor told me Casebook #2 is, is also writing lethally. But it’s lethal to the healing we’ll need on the other side of this COVID madness. Writing dangerously doesn’t always mean pushing, provoking, or even angering. Writing soft without the superfluous is a true skill to unapologetically be Sorry/Not Sorry for. I’m happy to be that rebel to do it.

Dr. Missye K. Clarke, Writing Life Coach @ Your Service!

Ordinarily this blog offers tips, pointers, secrets of the writing life you can implement in your own mysteries and shorts. But life’s kickin’ my keister recovering from a rotten cold and two vicious sickle cell crises in as many months, so let’s have a little fun. For this post, I’ve on my what-happens-when-life-demands-my-writing-time Life Coach cap for insight, wisdom, and experiences dealing with the not-so-nice parts of your writing life. I’m positive these brave ladies who’ve asked theses questions, you, Everyday Susan and Typical Jo, have asked yourselves this, too.

So let’s get to it!

Q: Dr. Missye, what’s some good writing advice you can offer? I’m a mom to two under eighteen, working full time, keep house, and have a husband. Where do I find writing time?

Did I mention my kids are Gen Z, I’m a Gen X’er, and my husband’s a front-end millennial? HELP!!!

Thanks,
“Eugenie

A: Great question, Eugenie! I’ll do my best to give a satisfactory answer–but at the end of the day, you have to go with what’s best for you in your situation.

Firstly, being pulled in multiple directions is awful, isn’t it? Nobody understands. We’re stuck between generations. Or you’re feeling it more than the others do. Whichever the case . . . just . . . breathe. In. Out. Repeat. Remind yourself as you deep breathe: This, too, shall pass. This, too, shall pass.

You’re good? Talked all down? Okay.

So. You’ve babies under eighteen . . . aawww. Cherish them now; they’ll be grown and gone before you know it. This’ll be antipoden in what you want to hear, but your writing life may need to hit pause as you raise your kidlets. Too many authors have neglected their kids for their imaginary worlds, justifying this with the millions they’ll make to make up for it. Wrong. They want YOU, not possessions (yeah, I’ll say it: “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin, anyone?), so be there for them. If you must write, do so when they’re asleep, while they’re in school, or involved with other peripherals.

In working full-time while shoehorned in with caregiving aging or ailing family members and meeting your own nuclear nest’s needs, tight time organization is essential. During obligation breaks, maybe jot lines for your story, post a quick character sketch, a scene outline, or untangle a plot kink via a story device app. Or unwind with an audiobook. Find snatches of time you can to put into write, draft, outline, hell, even sleep. Some “you” time is essential and not at all wasted during this hectic activity, too. You’ll go bats if you don’t.

Note this, if nothing else: Please don’t compare your writing like and time with anyone else’s. You’ll only discourage yourself, and to be honest, why waste that time and energy you can’t get back? This is your path. Walk it as you do. And in perspective, if providing for your family is more important than creating and crafting for the time being, so be it. Your situation isn’t anyone else’s, and you don’t know the real goings-on of that life you think is so put together, either. In other words, as your kids’ gen says–much like ours did–“Eyes on your own paper!” And just do you.

If the writing bug bites that badly, delegate house chores to hubby or area kids needing a fast buck. Have the kids clean their own room(s) and other rooms if they’re big and old enough, or they can regularly clean a room you always do. Oh, and forget perfect; the job’s done, and it’ll get dirty again regardless. But you got some writing in, and practice makes perfect, which applies to chores, too. Have a child or hubby giving you consternations–that’s also known as pitching fits for those of you in #RioLinda 😎–? That’s real easy. Make them Bed-Making Captain! Or the CDVO–Chief Dusting and Vacuuming Officer! If you give an important title with the chore, they might not complain about having to do it. Or trade–they do the work, you write, and you make their meal favorites when the chores are done. I’d’ve suggested not make a meal at all to the selfish family members, but . . . uh, well . . . calls to Children’s Services aren’t invited to be part of your life, or of this post, and nobody wants that 😏.

We all get the same 24 hours in a day. Some can get more done in that day than others. If you’re not one of them, that’s fine. Where’s it written you have to do everything in this life you wanted to do? Some things are worth leaving aside for the joy in others–and the best thing, in my life coach opinion, is raise your kiddies, be their mommy, and love every minute of their young lives. The writing will be there when they’re grown, gone, and you’ve got time to make their empty bedroom into your personal writing studio. #360Win Hope this helps. And the very best of luck to you!

Q:  Hi, Dr. Missye . . . I sure hope you can help me.

I’m involved with a man I met online. “Rod” is in Utah, I’m in Maine, and we’ve been talking regularly for almost eighteen months. We both want to make it work, but for one sticking point–he disregards my writing (I write poetry and am working on a memoir) as a flight of fancy and thinks it’s pointless. Any advice?

Constance

A: Hi, Constance (oooh, I love you name!)! Thank you so much for your question, it’s awesome! :).

Hmmm . . . well, there’s two answers for this: the starlight and moonbeams answer, or the tough-love, OG NYC gal, answer. Which do you want?

Oh, good, the tough-love answer. The starlight and moonbeams answer–yeah . . . I got nothin’.

Kidding!

This is a two-part question, so I’ll take the obvious one first. If you and Rod really want this to work, possibly you can meet halfway between your home states and make a weekend of some touristy spots in Indianapolis (been there; lovely city, that!), Nashville (for me, it’s meh, but you might dig better’n I do.), or go big and bold in New Orleans. The idea is to find if you honestly have chemistry more than just talking online? You have to be in one another’s spatial space to know if there’s electricity between you two in real time (Yeah, #RioLinda, lookin’ at you–that’s IRT spelled out!). If he balks or bails, give him time to explain why you felt like a big box of swampy skunk-ass getting stood up–or have the pleasure of telling him off before you declare you’re never bothering with him again–but in your gut, you’ll have your answer.

Second part: when you say he disregards your writing, you weren’t specific. He disregards it how? Does he call it degrading names (“silly,” “waste of time”)? Is he dismissive (“Who’s gonna buy it?” “Are you any good?” “Aren’t you a little old to play pretend?”)? A deeper question–why do you let him do this to what you hold dear? What’s been your response? Have you defended it? Have you asked him to not invade that boundary? If he’s this flippant about your creative choices, it’s time to play Pick A Door. You can choose Door, Stage Left by never mentioning this to him again–on this and other issues, you don’t have to always see the same POV–but he doesn’t get to disrespect you verbally, permitted his opinion notwithstanding. If he cares for you as he says he does, he’ll choose wiser words in the future, Men, I’ve found, either grunt through the English language while gnawing the last of a meat bone’s marrow, or they’re superfluously verbose in speech–cape, sword and all–much more than women are.

BUT . . .!

If he’s really been nasty in his views about your writing life and creativity, I’d ask why he believes this the case, and ask why does he need to be so cruel expressing himself this way. While sharing, while you respect his having that stance, it hurts you he does hold it. You mentioned this has been a sticking point between you two, so I’d imagine y’all have been talking about it. Maybe he’s insecure how far you’ve gotten. Maybe he’s threatened by what you can do what he’s strove to do and couldn’t achieve. Maybe he genuinely believes you’re not good enough, but can’t bring himself to say it. Whichever the case, it’s on you to protect your creativity. You do this by a): that’s a boundary he never crosses if you and he plan to make this work; or b): end the relationship if he can’t respect your stance or refuses to quit violating that boundary. You respect his having those views, asinine as they may be, and likely told him so. If he claims to hold deep feelings for you, he’ll rethink his position with care and wisdom, keep his views to himself, or work on himself to abandon them altogether. You deserve peace of mind, body, soul, and spirit. Get that however you can. If he’s incapable of holding up this side of the relationship, things between you and he might’ve run its course.

Thank you for letting me share this angle of the writing life with you. Everything touches everything else. When you’re emotionally instigated, it’ll resonate in your writing world in the most profound ways.

Namaste.